Okay, so before we dive in, yes - I know many of you are already planning to switch from BlackBerry 7 to BlackBerry 10. Yes, I also know that BlackBerry 10 is not yet available in many regions (including the US). That being said, this article is for those of you who still may be on the fence when it comes to ditching your BlackBerry 7 device -- when it becomes available to you -- for a new BlackBerry 10 phone.
BlackBerry 10 is truly awesome, but for some, giving up what you know and love on your BlackBerry 7 device may not be something you're willing to do just yet. If that sounds like you, keep reading and take a look at just what BlackBerry 10 has to offer over BlackBerry 7 and why you should make the switch.
Let me start out by simply saying that BlackBerry 10 is great. Seriously. For the last few months leading up to the BlackBerry 10 launch, Kevin, Bla1ze and I ALL carried multiple devices. Sometimes more than two even. We are mobile lovers at heart, so in order to get the full experience of communication, apps and media on mobile it required more than just one device. Since the BlackBerry Z10 landed in our hands however - none of us have been dual-wielding at all - and that says a lot.
BlackBerry phones and BlackBerry 7 offered up much of what we needed in a mobile device in the past. BlackBerry is the world's best communication tool for things like email, SMS and BBM but it fell short for things like apps and media. BlackBerry 10 picks up the pieces and gives us an awesome mobile experience from so many different angles.
For BlackBerry 7 power users, BlackBerry 10 may leave you missing out on some features you love. We outlined a list of ten things we'd lose in BlackBerry 10, and for some users, they are pretty big losses. The trackpad, navigation keys (Back/Send/Menu/End), convenience keys and even charging contacts are no more on BlackBerry 10. However, after using the BlackBerry Z10 for a few weeks now, I have to say that once you adjust you really won't look back. What you may miss are more of the deep features like custom profiles and notifications or some 3rd party apps like BeBuzz or pattern lock utilities. Right now the BlackBerry 10 apps are limited as to what they can access so some apps don't do as much as you'd like at this point, but that is all coming soon.
Obviously if you go the Z10 route you're giving up your physical keyboard as well, but the Z10 has an amazing virtual keyboard. Seriously. It is really as good as it gets. I've never been a huge fan of virtual keyboards but I have to say that the Z10 keyboard is uber awesome. No question. And if you're holding out for the Q10 then this obviously won't even be an issue.
BLACKBERRY Z10 HARDWARE REVIEW
Kevin gives us an in-depth look at the new BlackBerry Z10 hardware.
EMAIL, CALENDAR & CONTACTS
Your personal data on BlackBerry 10 like email, calendar and contacts mostly remains the same as you have it on BlackBerry 7 currently. The good news is that you can now do things like add contacts and calendar via CardDAV, CalDAV and Exchange ActiveSync as well when setting up accounts. So in instances where you'd want multiple Google calendars for example, you can easily set that up on BlackBerry 10. BlackBerry 10 still supports various email services including work accounts, Gmail, Yahoo! and any other POP/IMAP accounts too.
Moving all of your data from your old BlackBerry 7 phone to BlackBerry 10 is a breeze as well thanks to BlackBerry Link on both Windows and Mac.
One thing to note is that since BlackBerry 10 no longer requires BIS to operate, so you will lose your carrier email address (you(at)rogers.blackberry.net) in a few months. Alternatively, you don't need a dedicated BB plan from your carrier anymore either, so any standard smartphone plan will work.
APPS & GAMES
As a BlackBerry user, you unfortunately know what it's like to be missing out on some apps. Things like Instagram, Skype and Netflix never made their way to BlackBerry 7 devices, but BlackBerry 10 brings over some of the same great titles and is expanding by the day. Titles like Skype, Whatsapp, Songza, Slacker, Facebook, Twitter and foursquare are all available or will be available soon for BlackBerry 10 devices.
There is amazing Dropbox, Box and Evernote integration as well. So while using these on BlackBerry 7 required a separate, slimmed-down app -- BlackBerry 10 brings them in hardcore and they flow seamlessly within the OS.
If you are an app hound and want even more, you can still sideload apps/games on BlackBerry 10 just as on the BlackBerry PlayBook. So if there are certain titles you want that aren't yet available, you can track down their Android counterpart and sideload them from either a Windows PC or Mac. This gives a much larger app range and truly helps to fill the gap.
BlackBerry 7 had a great notification banner - one that I totally loved. Tap the banner when you had a notification and it would list everything in one place. Tap an item to jump to the app and be done. On BlackBerry 10, the notifications take a huge leap and get awesomized. The new BlackBerry Hub takes over for the universal inbox on BlackBerry 7, catching all of your incoming notifications for apps, email, SMS, BBM, voicemail and phone calls. The Hub is always on and always available, so rather than tapping on the notification bar or leaving an app to go to your inbox, a simple gesture gets you there from anywhere on the device - and it's awesome. Gone are the individual email inboxes though, so if you were a big user of separate accounts, you'll have to learn to love the Hub.
Of course you still get notifications and the blinking LED that you know and love. In any app you simply pull up from the bottom of the screen and you can instantly see your notifications, then another gesture brings you right to the Hub no matter where you are.
BlackBerry 7 devices were plenty. There were many to choose from and for some it made the decision of choosing a device difficult. Along with that came a crazy amount of OS versions (official, leaked and hybrid) so we were all constantly searching for the perfect combination.
BlackBerry 10 makes life easy. You get the all-touch BlackBerry Z10 or the physical keyboard BlackBerry Q10. As far as software goes, it's one version across the board. No more seeking out the perfect OS and constantly trying something new.
BlackBerry 10 still goes strong with your BlackBerry PlayBook as well. BlackBerry Bridge, although slimmed down, still connects you to your PlayBook over Bluetooth so you can use both a BlackBerry phone and tablet in perfect harmony.
MAKE THE SWITCH
There are certainly some things you know and love about your BlackBerry 7 phone that you won't find on BlackBerry 10. Things are still in the early stages however, so down the road we expect more features to be built in to the OS filling up the existing holes, as well as more hardward options. As it stands now, BlackBerry 10 really is an amazing platform - and this is just the beginning. The devices are solid, the OS is great, and if you're a BlackBerry user you really can't go wrong in making the jump to BlackBerry 10. We'll be here all along the way to help get you started and for the full transition, and our forums are as busy as every with BlackBerry 10 chat.